by Max Brantley
You think college affirmative action is all about putting unqualified minorities in seats ahead of better qualified white people? You might want to think again.
Peter Schmidt, deputy editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education, writes that researchers with access to the college admissions data that many institutions keep a tight guard on found that 15 percent of freshmen at 146 "highly selective" colleges are white students who didn't meet the school's minimum admissions standards for high school GPAs and SAT or ACT scores. There are more than twice as many sub-par privileged white kids at highly competitive institutions than there are black and Latino students whose race gave them a boost in competing for a spot, the researchers found. Some of the white kids are athletes, and many others are the children or friends of alumni, politicians, faculty members, donors, and administrators.
Schmidt also notes that these schools spend just 40 percent of the money for financial aid on students with a documented financial need; the bulk of it goes to students they think will enhance the college's reputation or become big donors later in life. As a result, kids from the wealthiest quarter of the country are 25 times to go to a selective college than the bottom quarter -- so, big surprise, everything about college